The reason for the discrepancy in numbers is that it depends on how you count stores. Sears tends to list Sears Auto as separate stores, and has even pondered selling the chain or spinning it out as a separate business, like the Hometown and Outlet stores and Lands’ End were in recent years. The Auto stores are closely associated with Sears, though, and are often physically attached to the stores or operate in outbuildings in the Sears parking lot.
On the current closing list, all but two of the Sears Auto outlets are scheduled to close at the same time as the Sears department store that they’re attached to. Two Sears Auto locations will close while the nearby Sears remains open, so we count these two stores separately in the total of 99. If you count each Sears Auto as an entirely separate store, that means that a total of 131 retail outlets are closing.
The list was compiled from information sent to local media outlets, retail property managers, and Sears Holdings employees. The news that a local store is closing probably won’t come as a surprise to employees, or to customers who follow local news.
In years past, Sears did issue comprehensive nationwide store closings lists to the media. They no longer do so, instead saying that the company’s total number of stores will be listed in their quarterly reports. While useful, those are just raw numbers, and to state the incredibly obvious, stores don’t get removed from the totals until after they close.